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Published on March 12, 2015

MU Health Care Surgeons Perform First Operations Using Next-Generation Surgical Robot

New technology offers patients more options

New technology offers patients more options

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Surgeons at University of Missouri Health Care, the first health system in mid-Missouri to offer robotic minimally invasive surgery, began using the next generation of surgical robots this week. The new da Vinci Xi Surgical System at University Hospital is one of only two such surgical systems in Missouri and the only one in central Missouri.

The new da Vinci robot will assist MU surgeons in performing complex minimally invasive procedures with even greater precision and control. The new robot will be used for minimally invasive surgeries for complex diseases and conditions in colorectal, gynecologic oncology, urology, thoracic, cardiac and general surgeries.

“Robotic surgery brings many benefits to patients compared to traditional open surgery,” said Naveen Pokala, M.D., assistant professor of urology, who performed the first surgery – to remove a cancerous tumor from the kidney – using the da Vinci Xi Surgical System on Monday. “Patients can expect tiny incisions, minimal scarring, shorter hospital stays, less blood loss, a reduced risk of infection and quicker return to normal daily activities.”

Mid-Missouri’s first da Vinci Xi robotic surgeries performed at MU Health Care as mid-this week included:

  • partial nephrectomy (removal of a cancerous tumor from a kidney) by Naveen Pokala, M.D., surgical urologist at MU Health Care and assistant professor of urology
  • prostatectomy (removal of part or all of the prostate gland) by Naveen Pokala, M.D., surgical urologist at MU Health Care and assistant professor of urology
  • pyeloplasty (reconstruction of the renal pelvis to drain or decompress the kidney) Naveen Pokala, M.D., surgical urologist at MU Health Care and assistant professor of urology
  • hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) by Sara Crowder, M.D., Mid Missouri Gynecologic Oncology, Columbia
  • total proctocolectomy (removal of the colon and rectum) by Dr. Zihao Wu, M.D., surgical oncologist at MU Health Care and assistant professor of clinical surgery

“This new technology allows us to offer minimally invasive surgery to even more patients who would otherwise need traditional open surgery due to their complex surgery needs,” Pokala said. “The new system is designed to simplify surgical procedures, especially those that require surgeons to access multiple areas throughout certain parts of the body like the pelvis, abdomen or chest.”

Minimally invasive surgery allows physicians to operate through tiny holes in the body instead of a large open incision. Each hole is one to two centimeters in length, or smaller than a dime.

DaVinci Surgical Procedure

During an operation, surgeons sit a few feet away from the patient and view a magnified three-dimensional, high-definition image on a console. Using hand controls, surgeons are able to guide the robot’s interactive arms, which are positioned inside the patient. The surgeon’s hands, wrist and finger movements translate into precise, real-time movements of surgical instruments inside the patient.

In addition to the surgeons operating at the consoles, an additional surgeon is available at the patient’s side.

The da Vinci’s dual-console design allows two physicians to operate at one time, promoting collaboration and facilitating training during the surgery.

The next-generation da Vinci features:

  • An overhead instrument arm architecturally designed to facilitate complete access from virtually any position
  • A lighted scope inserted into the body that uses computer modeling, simulation and imaging to give surgeons even better visual definition and clarity
  • Ability to attach an endoscope, a device with a light attached used to look inside body cavities, to any of the robot’s four arms, providing even better flexibility for the surgeon viewing the surgical site
  • Smaller, thinner robotic arms with newly designed joints offering even better range of motion
  • Longer instrument shafts designed to give surgeons greater operative reach

MU Health Care has two da Vinci systems, the da Vinci Xi Surgical System at University Hospital and the da Vinci Si Surgical System at Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Since 2008, surgeons at MU Health Care have been using the surgical system for minimally invasive procedures in pediatrics, gynecology, urology, oncology, otolaryngology, gastroenterology and general surgery.

New technology offers patients more options

Click here to download high-resolution photos of the da Vinci Surgical System in use. (12.5MB, compressed)